Automania expands to two days this summer
June 27-28 event expected to draw tens of thousands to city once again
April 18. 2014 6:00AM
Automania’s first run in Brandon last summer went so well that organizers are adding a second full day to the event this year.
“People came back a second day looking for us, so by doing two days, we anticipate bringing in more people from all over,” said organizer Bill Nelson. “We proved that Automania is a great fit for Brandon, but we just wished we had more room.”
Last summer’s one-day event drew an estimated 70,000 people to the city.
With the inaugural year in Brandon now behind them, Nelson and staff are making changes to make the 2014 Automania even better. To start with, vendors will set up largely on the north boulevard of Holly Boulevard, which should allow for more vehicle displays and make more room for the crowd.
And there will be more vendors, too.
“Last year, we were short on food,” Nelson said.
This year, the event will have six to seven BBQ vendors in the mix of 24 food vendors.
“Everything from gourmet buffalo burgers to gourmet hot dogs,” he said.
Display tents and vendors will begin setting up on Thursday evening.
More product trailers will also be on site, Nelson said, including the Neon Sign Shack trailers that will feature 80-feet of neon. The Diva Den, a big draw for the ladies last year, returns this year with 30 to 40 booths, which is up from last summer’s 20.
Planners are also nearly doubling the number of port-a-pots and trash/recycling receptacles. The port-a-pots are going from 24 to 40, and trash/recyclable cans are being increased from 60 to 100.
Another change to this year’s venue is there will be just one stage, which will be located on the Brandon Lutheran Church grounds.
Friday’s night’s headliner, The Grass Roots, takes the stage at 7 p.m., and the British rock-n-roll band, The Devanshires, is Saturday evening’s featured band.
Entertainment on the stage starts at 11 a.m. Saturday
Catherine Bach, who played Daisy Duke on the famed “Duke’s of Hazzard” TV show, returns to Automania. She was last part of the event five years ago, Nelson said.
Two eras of the General Lee – the old and the new – will also be on display.
Jessi Combs, one of the hosts of “All Girls Garage” on Velocity, who Nelson coins as “one of the fastest women on four wheels,” is also expected at the event,
Nelson said the event in no way could be pulled off with assistance from some key agencies, including the City of Brandon, the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, the Brandon Volunteer Fire Department, Brandon Lions Club, BV Baseball and Hockey associations, and subsequent volunteers, which Nelson says, the event is in need of.
“We’re looking for additional volunteers who are people-friendly and want to represent Brandon and South Dakota with a smile,” he said.
If you fit that description, contact Nelson at 951-5045 or inquire on the Automania website, www.automania.com.
The 2014 Automania magazine also hits area retail outlets in late May, Nelson said. And an additional 8,000 are mailed out all over the country.
As for the four community organizations, their volunteer efforts will be rewarded with a sizeable donation from Automania, which dispersed just under $8,000 last year to the groups. Because the event is expanding to two days this summer, Nelson anticipates giving an additional 50 percent more on top of that amount.
“Thanks to the city for supporting us, and hat’s off to the community that welcomed us,” Nelson said.
Although Automania will be going strong in Brandon on Saturday, the event’s auction will remain in Wakonda.
“It’s a town of 300, and that’s a big boost for their local economy,” he said.
ABOUT AUTOMANI 2014
When: Friday & Saturday, June 27-28
Where: Holly Boulevard, Brandon
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday
Registration: First 600 car owners that pre-register receive a free t-shirt